Wednesday, March 31, 2010

lego and paper sets are back

after a few months, the wonderful lego and paper sets from muji are back in my shop. shown here: the lego punch; the fairy tale set (little red riding hood); the original set (dragon); and the bright colors set. i've posted before about the bright colors set; the lego paper punch; and the orginal and christmas sets.

and for lego enthusiasts, i've also stocked this fun lego theme fabric.

Monday, March 29, 2010

bright and green

i've been drawn to this fabric every time i see it, and now it's finally in the shop! i love the feeling of the print, somehow it reminds me of scandinavian textiles, and i love how the animals are abstracted. i think another reason why i like it so much is also the bright colors, especially all the green.
it's hard to be patient when it seems like spring is just around the corner...but hiding. and this year i'm so excited about my little garden which makes it that much harder to wait. but remember the mini sunflower kit i bought? they came up! actually now the leaves are fully open, but this picture is from last week. and it still kind of feels like magic, that moment when the first green appears from the ground.
since my strategy for my first garden in kyoto is simply to buy the starts when they are for sale, it's a surprise every time i go to the garden store. last weekend was eggplants and tomatoes already. the good thing is that everywhere here delivers, including big bags of potting soil and planters. the bad news is that i have to wait until friday...i hope these little guys can hang on for a few more days in their tiny pots. and today it even snowed while i left them outside on the balcony!
this strawberry (and the honey in the jar) came from the handmade market at kamigamo jinja on sunday.

ok spring, you can come out now!

Monday, March 22, 2010

far far away

i've added this wonderful fabric to the shop. it's from the far far away line designed by heather ross for kokka. the fabric is a cotton double gauze, which is super soft, and the images are so lovely. (i have a thing for fairy tales). thankfully, athough i may not always get quite as much sleep as i would like, unlike this princess, there is nothing under my futon that keeps me awake.
there are unicorns too! who doesn't like unicorns?
and frog(princes). cotton double gauze is great for summer, and i've also been thinking about using a little bit of this fabric for baby bib...maybe the frogs?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

higashiyama in kyoto

earlier this week i walked around the back streets of higashiyama. plum trees were blooming.
the area between gion and higashiyama is one areas where you can see maiko in traditional clothes and makeup.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

march handmade market at chionji

these little guys are made of felt, and are sooo cute!
the same artist needle felted these animals on to fabric items.
they actually sell their works in a combination zakka/cafe/bonsai shop, it sounds awesome, i think i need to check it out.
and i love these pins made from reusing fabric with japanese traditional family crests, or komon.

Monday, March 15, 2010

little envelopes

last weekend i made these little envelopes using origami paper, and this mini envelope template from muji, which i've also listed in my shop.
it was so gratifying just to make something, a quick project using my hands.
i still love brown kraft paper too, especially for using with cute japanese washi masking tape.
also, i tried printing with white ink on some brown waxed paper envelopes i picked up last week,
which i also really love combined with masking tape. they are not in the shop yet, but may make it there soon...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

gardens and caterpillers

i have plants on my balcony! parsly and oregano,

and rosemary! this weekend was warm and sunny, and the perfect time to start my balcony garden, which i've been day dreaming about for the last week or so.
i found this adorable mini-sunflower growing kit at a 100 yen shop last week,
and i love the look of these veggie growing containers from muji, just burlap covered plastic.

and here are the caterpillers! the very hungry caterpiller, that is. available on blue, in my shop.if you want to start your own plants from seed, there was feature by ashley on design sponge last week. having grown up in the country, with a whole room in our house that was full of seed starting trays for several months every spring, i've never been that careful with calculating or planning. and once i moved away to college, and started several new gardens at several new houses, i also learned to appreciate the easiness of working from starts. but now that i am starting a new container gargen in kyoto, i realize that i don't know the growning season here, or the microclimate on my south facing balcony. my strategy is pretty basic: 1) i'm going to quiz everyone i know who gardens, and 2) i'm going to just buy plants when the starts are sold, which is a pretty good indication that it's the right time to set them out. there is also a lot of container gardening here, and i'm excited to try out some local varieties and see what happens!

Friday, March 12, 2010

new washi masking tape patterns

new washi paper masking patterns, just added to my shop.
i don't know which one is my favorite...although i am leaning towards the argyle.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

february kamigamo jinja handmade market-part 2 felt and textiles

the work of very talented feltmaker, from scarves to tiny leave sprouts.
and a different feltmaker who specialized in life-sized cats!! not really my style, but i have to her points for dedication to an idea. also, i saw someone carrying one of these cats when i was waiting for the bus, so...maybe it's successful?woven, sewn, spun and dyed. yay for multiple fiber arts!
cute bags with detail appliques; so japanese.
steel furniture upholstered with upcycled textiles, nice.

by the way, all my market photos are on flickr.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

february kamigamo jinja handmade market-part 1 tiny things

the 4th sunday handmade market at kamigamo jinja is my favorite handmade market in kyoto. and it's getting bigger, as you can see by the increase in signs, and their location right by the main gate.
when i was looking through my photos, i noticed a theme of tiny things emerging, including these miniatures,
rubber stamps on little wooden handles
little ceramics

and more little ceramics
little beeswax candles (the apple came home with me, i couldn't resist!)

and a tiny version of the royal couple from japanese hina matsuri girls day holiday--depicted in cookie form!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

weekend crafting: kogin

this weekend i finally got around to a project i've been planning to do for months: kogin embroidery! i used some cotton towels with a loose weave, and some sashiko thread i had on hand. technically kogin thread is a bit coarser. basically kogin is a type of counted thread embroidery.
i was inspired by this book, which is in the shop, and here is a complete flickr set.
i used one of the most simple designs, but there are so many more i would love to try.kogin is kind of traditional embroidery from the northern part of japan. originally used as a form of darning or reinforcing work clothes, the patterns became and beautiful and intricate decoration. like the related embroidery sashiko, kogin is most commonly done with white thread on a indigo blue background.
but i love this book also and especially because of the way it shows how to use the kogin techique on contemporary objects. another example of the perfect blending of traditional and modern in japanese craft.

Friday, March 05, 2010

a little something new

i've added something new to my etsy shop, fabric from old kimonos! i love this fabric so much, it's so very japanese. it's a little bit of a new direction for the felt cafe japan shop, so i'm very interested to hear how folks like it. of course every piece will be different, and that's part of the charm. these two are from the toji market last month.

Monday, March 01, 2010

children's books illustrators

last weekend i saw this exhibit of the swiss illustrator hans fischer at the itami city art museum. i loved his books when i was little, the story of pitchi the curious kitten, and the birthday cake surprise planned by the animals. i don't know if most people have read these books, or if we just had them because of our swiss family friends.

recently i've seen some very cute pitchi stationary products here in japan, and this exhibit had all the books, including original drawings.

another all time favorite, the very hungry caterpillar has been made into a fabric print! just in time for the new japanese school year that starts in april. there are actually 2 variations of the print, this one with the dots and large images is my favorite, and it's available on a light yellow or blue background. it's sold out in my shop right now, but i will be restocking it later this week.
it's also available in the wonderful quilted fabric, which is used to make a whole slew of products required for japanese kindergartens.
i used it to make a laptop sleeve, which has has the intended effect of making me more happy to schlep around my laptop and crave a new ipad less. well, a little less maybe!